Numbers 27

Numbers 27


Then the daughtersI of ZelophehadII came forward.III

Notes on verse 1a

I “daughters” = bat. From ben (son literal or figurative; also, grandson, subject, nation); from banah (to build or obtain children). This is daughter in a literal or figurative sense.
II “Zelophehad” = Tselophchad. 11x in OT. Perhaps from the same as Tsalaph (Tsalaph or Zalaph; perhaps meaning “caper-plant” or “fracture”) + echad (number one, first, united; alone, altogether, a certain, a few); {from achad (to unify, continue on a path; figuratively, to gather one’s thoughts)} OR from tsel (shade in a literal or figurative sense; shadow, shade, protection, shelter, or defense); {from tsalal (to be or become dark, shade; this is the shade as during twilight or shadow as associated with something opaque)} + pachad (to dread, be afraid, thrill, be in awe; feeling startled from a sudden sound or alarm). This is Zelophehad or Tselophchad, meaning “first rupture” or “firstborn” or “shadow of the fear” See  &
III “came forward” = qarab. This is to come near, offer, make ready, approach, take.

Zelophehad was sonIV of HepherV son of GileadVI

Notes on verse 1b

IV “son” = ben. Related to “daughters” in v1. See note I above.
V “Hepher” = Chepher. 9x in OT. From chaphar (properly to pry into; to dig search for, sink, or explore) or chapher (to be ashamed, disgraced, embarrassed, confounded – to blush). This is Hepher or Chepher, meaning “pit of shame” or “dig” or “shame” or “well” or “pit.” See
VI “Gilead” = Gilad. From gala (to lay bare, quarrel, expose) OR from gal’ed (heap of testimony); {from gal (wave, billow, rock pile; something rolled; a spring of water); {from galal (to roll, roll away, wallow, commit, remove; rolling in a literal or figurative sense)} + ed (witness, testimony, recorder); from ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve)}}. This is Gilead, meaning “perpetual fountain” or “heap of testimony.” See

son of MachirVII son of Manasseh,VIII of the clansIX of Manasseh, son of Joseph.X

Notes on verse 1c

VII “Machir” = Makir. From makar (to sell – could be commerce/trade, a daughter to be married, someone into slavery; figuratively, to surrender). This is Machir or Makir, it is a name meaning “salesman.”
VIII “Manasseh” = Menashsheh. From nashah (to forget, neglect, remove, deprive). This is Manasseh, literally “causing to forget.” It is Manasseh, his tribe, or the lands of the tribe.
IX “clans” = mishpachah. From the same as shiphcah (maid, maidservant); root means to spread out. This is one’s circle of relatives – clan, family, kindred.
X “Joseph” = Yoseph. From yasaph (to add, increase, continue, exceed). This is Joseph, meaning “he increases” or “let him add.”

The namesXI of his daughters were Mahlah,XII Noah,XIII

Notes on verse 1d

XI “names” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
XII “Mahlah” = Machlah. 5x in OT. Perhaps from chalah (to be worn; hence, being weak, sick, or afflicted; to grieve or, positively, to flatter or entreat). This is Mahlah or Machlah, meaning “sickness” or “disease” or “entreaty.” See
XIII “Noah” = Noah. 4x in OT. From nua (to waver in a literal or figurative sense; to tremble, quiver, totter; a fugitive). This is Noah, meaning “movement” or “shaky girl” or “lady wanderer.” See

Hoglah,XIV Milcah,XV and Tirzah.XVI 

Notes on verse 1e

XIV “Hoglah” = Choglah. 4x in OT. Perhaps from chagal (to wobble, hop). This is Hoglah or Choglah, perhaps meaning “partridge.” See
XV “Milcah” = Milchah. 11x in OT. From malkah (queen); from melek (king, royal). This is Milcah or Milkah, meaning “queen.”
XVI “Tirzah” = Tirtsah. 18x in OT. From ratsah (to be pleased with, delight, take pleasure in, or accept with favor; to approve or consent regarding something; can be used specifically of satisfying debts or being pardoned). This is Tirzah or Tirtsah, meaning “delight” or “pleasantness” or “pleasure” or “beauty.” See 

They stoodXVII beforeXVIII Moses,XIX

Notes on verse 2a

XVII “stood” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
XVIII “before” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
XIX “Moses” = Mosheh. From mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.

XXEleazarXXI the priest,XXII XXIIIthe leaders,XXIV

Notes on verse 2b

XX {untranslated} = paneh. Same as “before” in v2. See note XVIII above.
XXI “Eleazar” = Elazar. From El (God, a god) + azar (to help, protect, support, ally; properly, to surround so as to provide aid). This is Elezar or Elazar, meaning “God has helped” or “God is helper.”
XXII “priest” = kohen. This is literally the one who officiates i.e. the priest. This is where the Jewish last name “Cohen” (and its variants) comes from.
XXIII {untranslated} = paneh. Same as “before” in v2. See note XVIII above.
XXIV “leaders” = nasi. From nasa (to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively; to carry, take, or arise; to bring forth, advance, accept). This is one lifted up or exalter. So, it could be prince, chief, ruler, captain, king, or vapor.

and allXXV the congregation,XXVI at the entranceXXVII of the tentXXVIII of meeting,XXIX saying, 

Notes on verse 2c

XXV “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
XXVI “congregation” = edah. Related to “Gilead” in v1. From yaad (to appoint, assemble or gather selves, agree) OR from ed (see note VI above). This is a congregation, assembly, or company. It could be a family, crowd, or fixture.
XXVII “entrance” = pethach. From pathach (to open wide in a literal or figurative sense; to open, draw out, let something go free, break forth, to plow, engrave, or carve). This is any kind of opening – a door, entrance, gate.
XXVIII “tent” = ohel. Perhaps from ahal (to shine, be clear). This is a tent, covering, home, or side pillar.
XXIX “meeting” = moed. Related to “congregation” in v2. From yaad (see note XXVI above). This is a meeting, assembly, fixed time. It can be used for a festival or feast. It can also refer to a meeting place.

“Our fatherXXX diedXXXI in the wilderness;XXXII he wasXXXIII not amongXXXIV the congregation

Notes on verse 3a

XXX “father” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.
XXXI “died” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.
XXXII “wilderness” = midbar. From dabar (to speak, command, declare). This is mouth or speech. It can also be desert or wilderness. Additionally, it can be used for a pasture to which one drives cattle.
XXXIII “was” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
XXXIV “among” = tavek. This is among, middle, in the midst, the center. Perhaps, properly, to sever.

of those who gathered themselves togetherXXXV against the LordXXXVI  in the congregation of KorahXXXVII but died for his own sin,XXXVIII and he hadXXXIX no sons. 

Notes on verse 3b

XXXV “gathered…together” = yaad. Related to “congregation” and “meeting” in v2. See note XXVI above.
XXXVI “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “was” in v3. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note XXXIII above). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
XXXVII “Korah” = Qorach. From qarach (to shave bald, perhaps frozen). This is Korah, perhaps meaning “ice,” “frost,” “hail,” or “baldness.” See
XXXVIII “sin” = chet. From chata (to miss, sin, bear blame, to forfeit, lack). This is sin, fault, or punishment of sin.
XXXIX “had” = hayah. Same as “was” in v3. See note XXXIII above.

Why should the name of our father be taken awayXL fromXLI his clan because he had noXLII son? GiveXLIII to us a possessionXLIV amongXLV our father’s brothers.”XLVI

Notes on verse 4

XL “taken away” = gara. This is to remove, restrain, cut off, take away, shave, limit.
XLI {untranslated} = tavek. Same as “among” in v3. See note XXXIV above.
XLII “no” = ayin. Perhaps from a word that means to be nothing. This means nothing, none, non-existent. It can also simply mean not or are not.
XLIII “give” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
XLIV “possession” = achuzzah. From achaz (to grasp, catch, seize, take and hold in possession). This is a possession, particularly used of land.
XLV “among” = tavek. Same as “among” in v3. See note XXXIV above.
XLVI “brothers” = ach. This is brother, kindred, another, other, like. It is literally brother, but it can also be someone who is similar, resembling, or related to.

Moses broughtXLVII their caseXLVIII beforeXLIX the Lord. 

Notes on verse 5

XLVII “brought” = qarab. Same as “came forward” in v1. See note III above.
XLVIII “case” = mishpat. From shaphat (to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, govern). This is a verdict or formal sentence whether from humans or from God. It includes the act of judging as well as the place that judging takes place, the suit itself, and the penalty. Abstractly, this is justice, which includes the rights of the participants.
XLIX “before” = paneh. Same as “before” in v2. See note XVIII above.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “The daughters of Zelophehad are rightL in what they are saying;LI you shall indeed letLII them

Notes on verses 6-7a

L “right” = ken. Perhaps from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is to set upright. Generally used figuratively to mean thus, so, afterwards, rightly so.
LI “saying” = dabar. Related to “wilderness” in v3. See note XXXII above.
LII “indeed let” = natan + natan. Same as “give” in v4. See note XLIII above. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”

possessLIII an inheritanceLIV amongLV their father’s brothers and passLVI the inheritance of their father on to them. 

Notes on verse 7b

LIII “possess” = achuzzah. Same as “possession” in v4. See note XLIV above.
LIV “inheritance” = nachalah. Related to nachal (to inherit, occupy, distribute, take as heritage). This is properly something that was inherited. It can mean occupancy generally or, more particularly, an heirloom or an estate. This can be an inheritance, gift, possession, or portion.
LV “among” = tavek. Same as “among” in v3. See note XXXIV above.
LVI “pass” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.

You shall also speakLVII to the Israelites,LVIII saying: If a manLIX dies and has no son, then you shall pass his inheritance on to his daughter. If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 

Notes on verses 8-10

LVII “speak” = dabar. Same as “saying” in v7. See note LI above.
LVIII “Israelites” = ben + Yisrael. Literally, “children of Israel.” Ben is the same as “son” in v1. See note IV above. Yisrael is related to “Eleazar” in v2. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + El (see note XXI above). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
LIX “man” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.

11 And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the nearestLX kinsmanLXI of his clan, and he shall possessLXII it.

Notes on verse 11a

LX “nearest” = qarob. Related to “came forward” in v1. From qarab (see note III above). This is near whether nearby, related, near in time, or allied.
LXI “kinsman” = sheer. 16x in OT. Perhaps from sha’ar (properly, swelling up i.e. being left over; a remnant, remaining, being redundant). This is flesh, body, meat, kin, self.
LXII “possess” = yarash. This is inheriting or dispossessing. It refers to occupying or colonizing – taking territory by driving out the previous inhabitants and living there instead of them. By implication, it can mean to seize or rob, to expel, ruin, or impoverish.

It shall be for the Israelites a statuteLXIII and ordinance,LXIV as the LordLXV commandedLXVI Moses.”

Notes on verse 11b

LXIII “statute” = chuqqah. From choq (statute, boundary, condition, custom, limit, ordinance; something that is prescribed or something that is owed); from chaqaq (to inscribe, carve, or decree; a lawmaker; literally, this is engraving, but it implies enacting a law because laws were carved into stone or metal). This is something prescribed such as a statue, custom, or ordinance.
LXIV “ordinance” = mishpat. Same as “case” in v5. See note XLVIII above.
LXV “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “was” and “Lord” in v3. From YHVH (see note XXXVI above). It has a different vowel pointing, but the same meaning as “Lord.”
LXVI “commanded” = tsavah. This is to charge, command, order, appoint, or enjoin. This is the root that the Hebrew word for “commandment” comes from (mitsvah).

12 The LordLXVII said to Moses, “Go upLXVIII this mountainLXIX of the AbarimLXX range, and seeLXXI the landLXXII that I have given to the Israelites. 

Notes on verse 12

LXVII “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note XXXVI above.
LXVIII “go up” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
LXIX “mountain” = har. From harar (hill or mountain). This is mountain, hill, hilly region.
LXX “Abarim” = Abarim. Related to “pass” in v7. 5x in OT. From abar (see note LVI above). This is Abarim, meaning “regions beyond” or “passages” or “crossings.” See
LXXI “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
LXXII “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.

13 When you have seen it, you also shall be gatheredLXXIII to your people,LXXIV as your brother AaronLXXV was,LXXVI 

Notes on verse 13

LXXIII “gathered” = asaph. This is to gather, assemble, or bring. It can also mean to take away, destroy, or remove.
LXXIV “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
LXXV “Aaron” = Aharon. Derivation uncertain. May mean “bearer of martyrs” OR be related to Ancient Egyptian ꜥḥꜣ rw (warrior lion) OR elevated, exalted, high mountain. This is Aaron. See
LXXVI “was” = asaph. Same as “gathered” in v13. See note LXXIII above.

14 because you rebelledLXXVII against my wordLXXVIII in the wilderness of ZinLXXIX when the congregation quarreledLXXX with me. 

Notes on verse 14a

LXXVII “rebelled” = marah. This is to be contentious, rebellious, bitter, provoking, disobedient. It can be to be or make bitter or unpleasant. Figuratively, it is to rebel or resist and causatively to provoke. This is the root of “Miriam.”
LXXVIII “word” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.
LXXIX “Zin” = Tsin. 10x in OT. This is Zin or Tsin, which may come from a word that means to prick. It could mean “a crag” or “thorn” or “barb” or “decompilation” or “dry place” or “tradition” or “low palm tree” or “lowland.” See
LXXX “quarreled” = meribah. 7x in OT. From rib (properly to toss or grapple; used figuratively to mean wrangling and so for arguments, complaints, or disputes; used in a legal setting for pleading or defending a case). This is strife or quarrel or provocation.

You did not show my holinessLXXXI before their eyesLXXXII at the waters.”LXXXIII (These are the waters of Meribath-kadeshLXXXIV in the wilderness of Zin.) 

Notes on verse 14b

LXXXI “show…holiness” = qadash. From qodesh (set apart and so sacred; God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart; things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy). This is set apart, consecrated, hallowed, sanctified. This is something or someone that is set apart for a holy purpose or use – ceremonially or morally clean.
LXXXII “eyes” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
LXXXIII “waters” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.
LXXXIV “Meribath-kadesh” = Meribah + qadesh. Meribah is related to “quarreled” in v14. 6x in OT. From the same as meribah (see note LXXX above). This is Meribah, a place whose name means “strife.” Qadesh is related to “show…holiness” in v14. 18x in OT. From the same as qodesh (see note LXXXI above). This is Kadesh, a place whose name means sacred or sanctuary.

15 Moses spoke to the Lord,LXXXV saying, 16 “Let the Lord,LXXXVI the GodLXXXVII of the spiritsLXXXVIII of all flesh,LXXXIX

Notes on verses 15-16a

LXXXV “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note XXXVI above.
LXXXVI “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note XXXVI above.
LXXXVII “God” = Elohim. Related to “Eleazar” in v2 & “Israelites” in v8. See note XXI above.
LXXXVIII “spirits” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
LXXXIX “flesh” = basar. From basar (being a messenger, publish, carry preach; properly, this is being fresh, rosy or cheerful as one bearing news). This is flesh, the body, fat, skin, self, nakedness, humankind, or kin. It can also refer to private parts.

appointXC someoneXCI over the congregation 17 who shall go outXCII beforeXCIII them and come inXCIV beforeXCV them,

Notes on verses 16b-17a

XC “appoint” = paqad. This is to attend to or visit – can be used for a friendly or violent encounter. So, it can be to oversee, care for, avenge, or charge.
XCI “someone” = ish. Same as “man” in v8. See note LIX above.
XCII “go out” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
XCIII “before” = paneh. Same as “before” in v2. See note XVIII above.
XCIV “come in” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
XCV “before” = paneh. Same as “before” in v2. See note XVIII above.

who shall lead them outXCVI and bring them in,XCVII so that the congregation of the LordXCVIII may not be like sheepXCIX withoutC a shepherd.”CI 

Notes on verse 17b

XCVI “lead…out” = yatsa. Same as “go out” in v17. See note XCII above.
XCVII “bring…in” = bo. Same as “come in” in v17. See note XCIV above.
XCVIII “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note XXXVI above.
XCIX “sheep” = tson. This is a flock of sheep and goats.
C “without” = ayin. Same as “no” in v4. See note XLII above.
CI “shepherd” = ra’ah. This is to tend a flock, pasture, or graze. It can mean to rule or to associate with someone. Figuratively, it can be ruler or teacher.

18 So the LordCII said to Moses, “TakeCIII JoshuaCIV son of Nun,CV a man in whom is the spirit, and layCVI your handCVII upon him; 

Notes on verse 18

CII “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note XXXVI above.
CIII “take” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
CIV “Joshua” = Yehoshua. Related to “was” and “Lord” in v3 & “Lord” in v11. From YHVH (see note XXXVI above) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Joshua, Jeshua, or Yehoshua, which means “the Lord is salvation.”
CV “Nun” = Nun. From nun (to propagate, continue, resprout, be perpetual). This is Nun or Non, meaning “perpetuity.”
CVI “lay” = samak. This is to lean, rest, support, brace, uphold, sustain, or establish. It is to lean on in a positive or negative sense.
CVII “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.

19 have him stand beforeCVIII Eleazar the priest andCIX all the congregation and commissionCX him in their sight.CXI 20 You shall give him some of your authority,CXII so that all the congregation of the Israelites may obey.CXIII 

Notes on verses 19-20

CVIII “before” = paneh. Same as “before” in v2. See note XVIII above.
CIX {untranslated} = paneh. Same as “before” in v2. See note XVIII above.
CX “commission” = tsavah. Same as “commanded” in v11. See note LXVI above.
CXI “sight” = ayin. Same as “eyes” in v14. See note LXXXII above.
CXII “authority” = hod. This is grandeur, beauty, glory, honor, or authority. It emphasizes a form or appearance with gravitas.
CXIII “obey” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.

21 But he shall stand beforeCXIV Eleazar the priest, who shall inquireCXV for him by the decisionCXVI of the UrimCXVII beforeCXVIII the Lord;CXIX at his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the Israelites with him, the wholeCXX congregation.” 

Notes on verse 21

CXIV “before” = paneh. Same as “before” in v2. See note XVIII above.
CXV “inquire” = shaal. This is to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request. It can also mean to demand.
CXVI “decision” = mishpat. Same as “case” in v5. See note XLVIII above.
CXVII “Urim” = Urim. 7x in OT. From ur (fire, light, the east); {from or (to be or become light, shine)}. This is Urim, meaning lights. It is placed in the breastplate of the high priest and used for casting lots (divining God’s will) along with the Thummim.
CXVIII “before” = paneh. Same as “before” in v2. See note XVIII above.
CXIX “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note XXXVI above.
CXX “whole” = kol. Same as “all” in v2. See note XXV above.

22 So Moses didCXXI as the LordCXXII commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand beforeCXXIII Eleazar the priest andCXXIV the whole congregation; 23 he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the LordCXXV had directedCXXVI throughCXXVII Moses.

Notes on verses 22-23

CXXI “did” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
CXXII “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note XXXVI above.
CXXIII “before” = paneh. Same as “before” in v2. See note XVIII above.
CXXIV {untranslated} = paneh. Same as “before” in v2. See note XVIII above.
CXXV “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v3. See note XXXVI above.
CXXVI “directed” = dabar. Same as “saying” in v7. See note LI above.
CXXVII {untranslated} = yad. Same as “hand” in v18. See note CVII above.

Image credit: “Icon of St. Thirza” by Jim Forest, 2019.

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